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As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose.
One of the area’s largest health providers will be lowering the age requirements and adding new people eligible to get their doses – while the Biden administration says all adults could be able to be vaccinated earlier than expected.
Here’s what we know today about the coronavirus outbreak in Florida, and the effort to stop it.
New COVID-19 Vaccination Site Opens in Sweetwater
The city of Sweetwater is now a designated COVID-19 vaccine site location. It will be located at Ronselli Park (250 SW 114th Avenue) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 3 to March 10th.
Mayor Orlando Lopez partnered with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense to launch the vaccination site.
Long-term facility residents and staff, seniors 65 years and older, health care personnel with direct patient contact, K-12 school employees ages 50 and older, and firefighters ages 50 and over are all eligible to receive a vaccine.
Additionally, hospital providers and licensed physicians can vaccinate those who they deem to be “extremely vulnerable,” per an executive order signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis late Friday.
Florida Adds 6,014 New COVID-19 Cases Wednesday, as State Reports 132 More Resident Deaths
Florida’s confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by more than 6,000 Wednesday, as the state’s virus-related death toll rose by over 130.
The 6,014 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida’s total to 1,924,114 since the outbreak began.
Another 132 virus-related deaths among Florida residents were reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 31,267. An additional 562 non-resident deaths have been confirmed in the state to-date. Most of the newly confirmed deaths occurred days or weeks earlier.
The positivity rate for new cases in the state was 6.82% in Wednesday’s department of health coronavirus report, after it had dropped to 5.67% in Tuesday’s report.
The positivity rate for all cases, including people who have already been tested, was 7.19%.
Florida Expected to Get 175K Johnson & Johnson Vaccines by End of Week: DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state would be getting 175,000 doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming days.
DeSantis spoke outside of a bank building in Zephyrhills, located in Pasco County just north of Tampa, adding he was not sure when the dosages would be arriving but expected them by the end of the week.
DeSantis said the state will benefit from the expansion of programs at locations like CVS and Publix in South Florida along with the J&J vaccine’s approval and the arrival of over 200,000 Moderna vaccines that were delayed due to severe winter weather last month.
New FEMA Vaccination Site Opens Wednesday at Miami-Dade College’s North Campus
The new COVID-19 vaccination site opened as one of four new federally supported sites that will be operating in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last Friday.
The new site at the college’s north campus at 11380 Northwest 27th Avenue opened Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is expected provide 2,000 doses each day. Similar sites will be opening in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Jackson Health CEO Announces New Eligibility for COVID Vaccine Doses
Beginning Wednesday, Jackson Health System will expand its criteria for coronavirus vaccinations to include people ages 50 and over who have a doctor’s recommendation based on high-risk conditions.
Those conditions are no longer limited to the 13 laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CEO Charles Migoya said during a news conference Tuesday.
Click here for a complete list of new eligibility requirements.
State Health Department Publishes Form to Help Determine “Extreme Vulnerability” of Patients
The Florida Department of Health published a form for physicians to certify that they have determined an individual to be “extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and eligible to receive the vaccine.”
This form will be used across Florida beginning Wednesday.
President Biden Vows Enough Vaccine for All US Adults by End of May
President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated — and he pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March to hasten school reopenings.
Biden also announced that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine, likening the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II.